Gordon, Edwards disagree at Atlanta
September 02, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
HAMPTON, Ga. – In the end, they didn’t even seem to agree to disagree.
Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards finished 12 positions apart in Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, but it was the close-quarters racing between the two early in the race that left both questioning the other’s actions.
The two drivers spoke for several minutes following the race, a conversation that appeared more animated than amicable. Neither seemed satisfied with the other’s viewpoint, a sentiment expressed by both.
“I have a problem with a guy when I apologize for sliding him and then he proceeds to tell me all the things I did wrong in the race,” Gordon said afterward. “I didn’t hear him apologizing for any of the things he did. I tried to have a regular conversation and that didn’t seem to be possible with him.”
Edwards confirmed the two failed to reach any sort of understanding “and finally he got frustrated enough with the conversation that he just walked away, which might be smart.
“We were racing really early and he just slides on me and I thought it was really out of character for him,” Edwards said. “I didn’t understand what was going on there, so I did everything I could to not wreck us both. So naturally the next time we were around each other I raced him as hard as I could, and then going down the back straightaway I thought he just ran into my door and it kind of tore up our right side.
“He thought I ran into him, so I think it was a case where both of us were mad at each other. He wasn’t very happy with our conversation, but at the end of the day I felt like he was the aggressor and didn’t give me much of an opportunity to drive my race car that first time.”
Gordon slipped past Edwards early in the 325-lap race while racing for position, and admitted he “came up a little bit too short on him; that was my fault.
“He took my line away from me to keep me behind him and I was a lot better than him,” the Hendrick Motorsports driver said.
Gordon, the four-time Cup champion fighting for a spot in this year’s Chase For The Sprint Cup, finished sixth, a result that moved him from 13th to 11th in the points standings.
That was of little solace, however, since Gordon remains winless and outside the top-10. One of those things will have to change for Gordon to earn one of the 12 Chase positions.
With only one race remaining before the field is set -- the series moves to Richmond International Raceway for next Saturday night’s pre-Chase finale -- Gordon’s chances aren’t stellar.
But they haven’t been completely extinguished.
“Most of it is just us doing what we have to do,” he said. “Just like we’ve done the last two weeks; we’ve done a good job but we can do better. In Richmond, we’re going to have to do better. But we do have a shot.”
Gordon has finished 10th or better in five of his last seven starts.
Edwards officially clinched a berth with his 18th-place finish at AMS, which while it dropped him one position in points (to fourth), provided the necessary cushion between himself and 11th place.
“That’s the first mission of the season,” he said, “to clinch a Chase spot. And now we go win the championship.”